SMART AF

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Ep. 132 How to Get The Right Things Done

by | Smart AF Show

get the right things done

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People love productivity hacks; how to get more done in less time. The problem is most get more of the wrong thing done, leaving them exhausted, burned out, and no closer to their goals. Busy work is not the answer to long-term success.

In this episode, Torie Mathis busts through your basic productivity tips and shows you 5 ways to get the right things done, so you work less, get more of the right things done and crush your goals again and again.

Listen or watch the full episode below:

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EPISODE TRANSCRIPTION –

(transcription is auto-generated)

SAF 132

[00:00:00] Torie : You’re not only going to get more stuff done, but then the things that you do, you’re going to realize if they were the right things. Because when we sit down at the end of the night, when we lay our head down like we shouldn’t just be proud that we got a lot of stuff done. The goal is generally never just to get stuff done.

Hey, what’s up. It’s Torie Mathis, your host. And I am here today by myself. Sean is out of town for official museum business, but I still want it to come to you today to talk about a few things. I have a lot of experience dealing with business owners in the last, you know, 20 years. And one thing I hear from people is that you are having a hard time getting everything done and, you know, Always going to be an issue, especially if you have a family at home if you have kids and you’re trying to grow your business, but I do have a few ways that have really worked with me for me, that I want to share with you that you can use too.

And it’s not necessarily that you are going to get more done, but it’s going to feel like what you get done is more important. And I really think that that is what’s going to be really key for you. I think one of the very first things that you can do is really try to figure out what your end goal is and why I think this is important is to take the example of two different people.

One person is trying to grow a business, maybe to grow like an empire. Something for them to have for the future. Something that they’re going to continue to do through their whole entire life, their passion, everything that they want to do, how they want to help people, how they want to serve their community.

So take that person and then think of another person. I know there’s been a couple of people that I knew growing up whose mom was like this the dad had a really great job. The mom was a stay at home mom, but once the kids got to be a little bit older, the mom didn’t really have a lot of things to do.

And so that, that she could just kind of go out and do things. She ended up going out and getting a job. And it was just a job that she kind of liked. And it kind of took up her time so that she was able to do something. A lot of older people do this too. People retire, and then they go into a job that they just want. That has little responsibility. I know there were a lot of people when I was in the army that did this after they retired. They would just go get a job that they liked doing something, you know, involved in like a market that they kind of cared about, but it was low responsibility. And just so that they could be out there doing something and not, you know, sitting at home.

So if you take the two people, like those are two very different experiences. Those are two very different situations, and I’m sure that you are on that spectrum somewhere. You’re probably a lot closer to here. So, whereas this person just wants to get some stuff done during the day. This person the things that they get done need to be a lot more specific towards their end goal.

And so I think figuring out first what your end goal is, is going to be really great and a really great way for you to tell if you’re doing things because that’s one of the most important things is not just getting stuff done, but getting the right things done. What really works for me is I have a specific planner that I’ve used.

It’s the same planner that I’ve used for probably the last, I think I’m going on like year five now. And it’s called the PA planner. It’s like the personal assistant. And it’s made by, I believe a lady in the UK and I have it shipped over. And I have replaced it every single year and I’ve tried so many different planners and this one just really works for me.

And one of the things that I like is that the spread is a weekly spread and then it’s got columns for each day. And then on the one side, it does have one column just for, for a running list of to-do items. And so for me, I like to fill out all those to-do items of just things that I need to get done.

There’s they’re usually not things that are super pressing. But it’s just like the things I need to get done during the week. But then on the top of each day, there is a space for three items. And so those are like those three items that I have to get done. Those are like my big goals for the day. And then if I have extra time and I ended up checking off more of the things on the side and my running to do, then that’s fine.

And a lot of times it was running to do things are things that I can do, like after the kids get home from school. So I need to schedule my time of like really hard intensive, you know, work time with no interruption. Well, nobody else is there. Once the kids get home like I want to pay attention to them. I want them to be able to come up and talk to me.

I want to be able to, you know, fix them a snack or, you know, do whatever. So sometimes there’s like those busy work things that I have to do. And so it’s nice for me to write those things out and to have those when I can just pick off those types of things when there’s lots going on in the house when there’s things going on and I can’t super concentrate on important things, but I can still get some things done. So when I do have the time, that is like my intensive work time. That’s when I work on those three things. And sometimes it’s only one thing that I really, really want to get done for the day. Like, those are the things that if at the end of the night, I was like, man, I kicked ass today.

It was because I, I got those things. What I also do in my planner is before the week even starts, before I even transfer over any new items to my list, I write down the things that are getting done no matter what. And that is like the kids’ events at any type of appointment. I have phone appointments or doctor’s appointments or things like that.

And then my gym time. So everything else has to be rearranged around those things. So those are like my key points that no matter what those things are gonna happen, and then I need to figure out a way to fit everything else in around those things. Because if I don’t do that and I just like, let the gym come up of like, Well, you know, if I have time today, then it’s possible that it would never happen.

And you know, we’re pretty good at making sure the gym happens on most days because we schedule it in another thing that we do to make the gym happen is that we schedule it and have been able to schedule it around things that we already do. Like we take Riley to school. And it’s at the same time as we would leave to go to the gym.

And so in taking Riley, we already are leaving the house, you know, so in taking Riley to school that already gets us out of the house and then we just need to, you know, rather than turn around and come home, we just need to keep going on to the gym. So kind of putting those things that are important and wrapping them up with things that are already going to happen, kind of helps that build that habit and makes it just, you know, a non-negotiable that it’s just going to happen no matter what, but I have a couple of other ways that you can feel like you’re getting more done and getting more of the right things done.

And the first thing I have for you. It’s to stay out of your email. That is one of the worst things that you can do to constantly be going into your email and responding to things as they are happening. And this has always been really hard for me because I’ve always worked in design. And so I’m always sending things to clients and wanting a response back and wanting to act upon those things very quickly.

Now, this was a lot more common, like before I had kids or when the kids were really young. Because at that time, Sean worked nights or he worked you know, late into the evening. So it didn’t matter if I answered emails on the fly or if I answered them in the evenings or even on the weekends because there was nothing else going on that it really mattered.

And so at that time, pretty much all of my clients knew if they sent an email. I was going to respond to it quickly, even if it was like, you know, in the evening, on the weekend, I would respond because I was in that like hustle business mode that I was always doing, doing, doing. And I was really still trying to figure things out these days. I really have to stay out of my email and I try to only go in there a couple of times a day. I go in there first thing in the morning just to grab a couple of things out. And then I don’t read the rest of my emails because otherwise, I start dealing with other people’s stuff really quickly. And that can end up taking my whole morning.

And remember my mornings have to be the time that I’m doing things that matter for me that are moving me forward, the things that I really need to get done and not the busy work type of things, not responding to every email or, you know, filtering through emails to see which ones actually matter. You know, that in itself just takes a really long time.

So I try to schedule myself only to go in my emails a few times, and I try to get out of my emails in the evenings. Like if it’s past like four or five o’clock, even though I might still be working on some things that might be important, things that I need to get done. I won’t even go back into my email because I don’t want to get back into that work mode and start to need to respond to things or get deeply involved in a conversation or bring into a project.

This is the time for me to be with my family to make dinner and to wind down. Because one thing that I’ve noticed for me, and I don’t know if this is true for you, but if I start working like I used to be able to work late, I could work, you know, and once I kind of like, I get tired a little bit and then, you know, get past that afternoon.

I like get jazzed back up again like I’m ready to go. And I could totally work in the evening. I could probably work until midnight every night and it would be no problem energy-wise however, I have noticed that it really does something to my brain. When it gets turned back on for that second time was like, instead of like winding down and going with it, going with that normal, like, routine that you should be having, you know, the sun goes down, you start winding down.

If I let myself wind, but. I won’t sleep. I cannot turn my mind off. And it’s, I’ve learned that like, that just doesn’t work for me. So even though that’s a time that I could get so much stuff done, I don’t sleep well. And then that makes me a piece of crap in my life, which again is not the big goal. You know, it’s not just hustle and get as much done right now.

Yeah, that might’ve been me, you know, 10, 15 years ago. But right now, it’s more important for me to be super healthy and to be there for my kids, and to be there for my husband and to do all these other things and not just get as much done as I can. So you gotta kind of figure out like where you are and what works for you and setting those types of boundaries and routines really helps.

Email was a huge boundary and a huge routine that I still tweak it now and then, but it’s something that really works for me so that I can get more done, more things that matter. So the next thing that I have, and this I know is probably a huge one for everybody. And that is like, I know you need to be on social media to grow your business, and you probably want to go there to like, just blow off steam and waste during the day.

I know I do, like, I want to go on to Instagram and veg out for 15 minutes. Like, it’s like a good way for me to just like clear my mind and just do something like completely unrelated. But I can not get sucked into Instagram and stay on there for hours. Otherwise, I get nothing done. I also, need to be able to go on there to post, to maybe do some business things and maybe do a little bit of networking, but I have to be very specific about it and I have to set myself time constraints for it.

And I think that that is going to help you too. So if you want to be on. Or maybe you don’t want to be on social media, but you know, you need to like whichever way you are, like, this is going to work for you, either way, is just schedule it. Like maybe 10:00 AM you schedule 30 minutes. Maybe you schedule an hour.

What, you know, however many accounts you have, what things you need to do. Maybe you’re active in groups. Maybe you’re not, maybe a 15 minutes is enough for you, but scheduling. And set that time constraint. And then that is the time that you, you’re on social media for your business. Now, if you need that time to waste, my suggestion is to not do the wasting time during the day, or wait until the afternoon to do that, just so that, you stay in your constant flow.

I like what you’re trying to work on, rather than letting that to be a distraction. I think that taking breaks is fantastic. I think you should. I think you need to get up. You need to walk around, you need to go outside and touch some grass you need to do, you know, you need to do those things. You just stop and eat, but maybe don’t stop and jump on social media every single time.

Like you don’t need that dopamine hit over and over and over again, because then it’s harder to get back into work. Social media is so much more exciting. Like other things are more exciting for your brain and your brain wants those chemicals. So if you’re in that, you know, your morning time, where you really just trying to get stuff done and work on your big projects, maybe you just take a walk or maybe you just get a snack or a cup of coffee and you don’t automatically go to social media.

Save that social media time for another time in the afternoon or a time that it’s not going to distract you from the big things that you have to. So I talk about taking breaks and I really think that taking breaks is important. I have a hard time with this because I like to work. I love what I do.

I love designing. I love working with business owners. I love creating something out of nothing. I love figuring out how things work. And so I know that you have those things too, that you just love to do. And so sometimes it’s hard to like turn those things off, but it really is true. If you take a break, you come back more refreshed and it’s going to make it so that you can actually work better.

And that’s, you know, taking weekends off, maybe take a Friday off every once in a while, or maybe you always have Friday off. And that’s a way that you can really give yourself away to step back and come back with a fresh mind. Yeah. I talked a little bit about time constraints and I love a time constraint.

I talked about scheduling your time, on social media. Maybe giving yourself 15 minutes maybe instead of giving yourself 15 minutes, give yourself 12 minutes. I can give yourself a time constraint. Give yourself a time that it’s going to push you a little bit. Yeah. To get a little bit more done.

It’s kind of like when you are going away on vacation and you’re trying to get like, as much stuff done as you can so that you can go on like relax for a little while, at least like, while you’re traveling, you won’t have to worry about like, oh my gosh, I have all this stuff done. Like if you know that energy that you put into that like you can kind of bake that into your week.

Already by giving yourself time constraints for things. If you look at your day and you say, you know, I have X amount of things to do, like how can you compartmentalize those things and then kind of squeeze those compartments down just a little bit so that you’re not taking as much time possible as doing them, but trying to kind of push yourself and get yourself to kind of work a little bit harder than you normally would if you didn’t have that constraint on you.

And that’s away, especially with busy work, you know, everything doesn’t have to be perfect. It can just be done and sometimes done. It’s going to be a lot better than spending all this time on stuff that nobody’s going to pay attention to the fact that it’s perfect. I know this is with design a lot.

Like I really want to keep messing with things and tweaking it and making it a little bit better. And Sean has to tell me like, stop. Like it is good enough. It is so much better than, you know, anybody else is going to do. Like, it is at a perfect place that let’s just, you know, move on from it because. I have other things that need to be done and I don’t need to keep tweaking it things and making things better and better and better.

And so you may have a way that you do that in your business, too, that you have these things that you try to get better. Like you try to get perfect that you really want to hone in. And by doing these types of time constraints with yourself, it’s a way to really push yourself. Through that and get more done because sometimes done is better than perfect.

Even better than really good. Like some stuff doesn’t have to be really good. It can just be okay. And so getting used to being okay, and getting more stuff done, and reaching more people with your okay work rather than reaching very little, but just a few perfect items are going to be a lot better. I think at the end of the day when you look back and see, wow, like I did get all those things done and you know, what my good is pretty good and it’s better than I thought it would be. And I think that kind of gives yourself, gives yourself a little bit of a break. Like it, it puts a little bit less pressure on you, like, even though you’re time constraining yourself because you’re allowing yourself to get stuff out and to get more stuff out.

I think it actually causes less pressure on you. And it allows you to relax a little bit better if you’re like me and, you know, you want to get those things perfect. And you want to get things really good, then it will actually allow you to get more things. But if you’re the kind of person that just has a hard time getting started and getting going, then, you know, using that time, constraint forces you to act and start because sometimes just the getting started part, like that’s the hard part. So if you can like figure out how to jump yourself straight into getting started. And part of that is pressure. Like how many of us right. Have waited until the day before a project is due and then we’re like, shit, okay, let’s get going.

And you get it done. Like it’s easy to get it done with that pressure. So by giving yourself that, that pressure intentionally. And sticking to it, stick to the rules that you set yourself. It can really allow you to get started quickly and get a lot more done and get closer to the goals that you want to meet.

So the last thing that I have for you indefinitely, after you figure out what this main goal of things that you want, like what the big picture idea for yourself is, is it at the end of the week? Review, take a look at what you did. What did you accomplish? You know, what worked, what didn’t work? Like what, what would work if you just tweaked it just a little bit?

Like, what things did you do this week that maybe you realized, like, I don’t need to be doing these things. How many times, like we do these emails or we do these projects or we do these things. I don’t have to do these and it, and it might be that like the thing doesn’t need to be done at all, or maybe it just doesn’t need to be done by you.

Maybe it’s a simple things that you keep doing because it’s simple and it’s easy for you that you could get somebody else to do. You know, once I got a lot of these repetitive tasks off my plate, I gave some to Sean that, that I trust Sean with. And that I know that he would do a really great job because Sean is one that wants to do everything very quickly right away.

And so if it’s those types of projects, That need that, like, he is fantastic at getting those done. I also have a virtual assistant that I can give things to as well. And so these things that are repetitive and these things that I’ve already worked out, all the details for, I found in reviewing my week, like what things that I don’t need to be doing.

And so every week when I look I’m like, okay, what, what things here? Could somebody else be doing instead of me doing so that I can be freed up and I can be doing the things that are important to that big goal that I want to get to, but you can’t really figure those things out if you haven’t figured out what that big goal is.

So that’s definitely going to be one of the first things that you do, and it’s not just like, I want to make enough money to survive because if you really think about it, there’s always going to be a little bit more than. Because your life is more than money. Like why do you want enough money? You know?

And then think about where you live and what you want and where you want to go. And think about the time that you want to spend with your family, with yourself. Think about your health. Think about all the different parts of your life. Really, your work is going to dictate all of those things because it’s such a big chunk of your life.

So if you kind of map out what each one of those things are and what you want in each one of those sections, it’s going to make all of your decisions. A little bit easier to make, and it’s going to make this review process make a lot more sense because then you have a target that you’re going towards.

And so, you know what you’re reviewing things towards, like how well did I do getting towards that target? Like where am I off? What things do I need to do a little bit different? I think that’s going to make it. You’re not only going to get more stuff done, but then the things that you do, you’re going to realize if they were the right things.

Because when we sit down at the end of the night when we lay our head down like we shouldn’t just be proud that we got a lot of stuff done. The goal is generally never just to get stuff done, unless, you know, you were that first person, that person that just has a job to take up time. Because they’re retired and don’t really want to do, you know, they just don’t want to sit around, but I don’t think that that’s you right now.

I think you need to ask yourself that and see where you’re at. See where you wanna go. Because you have it in you to get to any goal that you set, because any goal that you set is just taking one step after another step, just getting there and continually adjusting until you reach the goal. And I think you can do that.

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